Willie Takes on Standards, Twain

Stardust gets revisted along with a reading of "A War Prayer"

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A collection of standards that Willie Nelson recorded live in the studio in 1997 will be released as Nacogdoches on April 29th.

Though Nelson's classic 1978 collection of standards, Stardust sold more than 5 million copies, his subsequent forays into older pop fare, like 1994's Moonlight Becomes You, has typically been released independently. Though the prolific Nelson is signed to Lost Highway, Nacodoches, which includes a new take on "Stardust" along with Nelson's interpretations of "San Antonio Rose," "Corrina," "Moonlight in Vermont" and fifteen other songs, will only be available through Willienelson.com and through Texas Roadhouse restaurants. The restaurant chain is a sponsor on Nelson's current tour.

Nelson shares the bill on Nacodoches with mandolin whiz Paul Buskirk. The two have a long-running musical relationship. Buskirk played on Nelson's 1981 standards record, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Nelson produced a solo album for Buskirk in 1993.

Proceeds from the new set will go towards a scholarship program for music education.

In other Nelson news, Willie has lent his voice to a reading of Samuel L. Clemens' (a.k.a. Mark Twain) "The War Prayer." The anti-war musing is celebrating its centennial, as it was dictated by Clemens in 1904 and because of a vehement anti-war tone, wasn't published until after his death. The new reading can be heard at Willienelson.com.

Nelson is on a rare break from the road right now, but on May 1st, he'll begin a round of tour dates that is currently scheduled to run three months. Among the stops is a June 12th performance at the Bonnaroo festival in Manchester, Tennessee.